09 February 2011

Watch this space

I know that it's three days old but my spies tell me that controversy continues to rage within the ivory towers of St Andrew's House and Victoria Quay over this story in The Sunday Mail:
SNP ministers were raging yesterday over Wikileaks revelations that a top civil servant told US officials that Scots were "dubious" about independence.

The whistle - blowing website obtained information given to US diplomats by David Middleton, the former director of the Scotland Office, who said plans for an independence refserendum [sic] were dead in the water.

A diplomatic cable, dated December 17 2008 revealed: "Because of the economic crisis, Middleton said most people in Scotland now find the notion of independence 'dubious' and Prime Minister Brown has gained 'solid support' for his handling of economic issues."

Middleton also predicted "little appetite in a financially uncertain Scottish public" for a 2010 referendum on Scottish independence.

The cable added: "Middleton said many Scots are 'embarrassed' over the struggle of banks with a 'Scottish identity'. The 'thinking classes' are depressed about the banks' slump and that is likely going to put a damper on nationalism. 'Independence,' he said, 'is less alive than a year ago.'"

Middleton, 54, became Scotland Office director in 2006 on a reputed salary of around £100,000. He is now boss of Transport Scotland.

Alas poor Middleton, I knew him well; he was my boss at least once in my career. And for the life of me, I cannot see that he has committed a grievous sin. I doubt if his political chief at the time (a Labour S of S for Scotland) would have objected to the sharing of his (somewhat prosaic and unsurprising) thoughts with US diplomats, no doubt over a cheeseburger and a glass of Bud. But that will not prevent his exile to the Siberia of the Crofters Commission, if SNP Ministers have their evil way.

Incidentally, it is mildly interesting that neither the BBC nor the other Scottish newspapers have pursued the story ...

1 comment:

Charles Trevelyan said...

The rot started with Bernard Ingham and now once impartial civil servants feel free to voice their masters'views thereby seeming to give them more credibility. It was wrong and continues to be wrong. Civil servants, like all servants, should neither be seen nor heard.